Category News

IPCC: the climate handbook for a ‘liveable’ future

Earth is hotter than it has been in 125,000 years, but deadly heatwaves, storms and floods amplified by global warming could be but a foretaste as planet-heating fossil fuels put a “liveable” future at risk. So concludes the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which started a week-long meeting Monday to distill six landmark reports totalling 10,000 pages prepared by more than 1,000 scientists over the last six years.

Here are some of the main findings from those reports: 

– 1.5C or 2C? – 

The 2015 Paris Agreement called for capping global warming well below two degrees Celsius compared to late-19th century levels.

But a landmark IPCC report in 2018 left no doubt: only the treaty’s more ambitious aspirational limit of 1.5C could ensure a climate-safe world. 

...Read More

Nations reach accord to protect marine life on high seas

For the first time, United Nations members have agreed on a unified treaty to protect biodiversity in the high seas, representing a turning point in a years long effort to bestow order on vast stretches of the planet where conservation has previously been hampered by a confusing patchwork of laws. The U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea came into force in 1994, before marine biodiversity was a well-established concept. The treaty agreement concluded two weeks of talks in New York.

An updated framework to protect marine life in the regions outside national boundary waters, known as the high seas, had been in discussions for more than 20 years, but previous efforts to reach an agreement had repeatedly stalled...

Read More

Two Orcas kill 17 sharks in 1 day

Port and Starboard are the names of two infamous killer whales (orcas) that swim off the coast of South Africa. Their names come from their rare collapsed dorsal fins: Port’s bends to the left and Starboard’s bends to the right. The pair went on a killing spree last week, attacking and killing at least 17 broadnose sevengill sharks in a single day (February 24, 2023). The whales ate only the sharks’ livers and left their bodies to wash up on the beach.

This pair of male killer whales gained notoriety in 2015, when scuba divers found several broadnose sevengill sharks dead. Eventually, researchers fingered killer whales Port and Starboard in the deaths. Then, in 2017 and 2019, great white sharks were washing up on the coast with just their livers eaten out of their bodies...

Read More

Milestone agreement to protect vast West Coast marine areas 

Fifteen First Nations are assuming stewardship of a vast network of marine protected areas in their traditional territories that span two-thirds of Canada’s West Coast. The Great Bear Sea MPA Network, an unprecedented initiative co-developed with the B.C. and federal governments, is the result of two decades of work, said Christine Smith-Martin, executive director for Coastal First Nations.

The Indigenous-led initiative, also known as the BC Northern Shelf MPA Network, involves 100,000 square kilometres of ocean and stretches from Northern Vancouver Island to the border of Alaska. It was formally endorsed and celebrated on Sunday at IMPAC5, a global marine conservation summit underway in Vancouver.

The territories of the Nations involved, includes the Great Bear Rainforest conserv...

Read More

Protecting 30% of oceans by 2030 a huge challenge for the planet

How do we go from protecting eight per cent of marine areas to 30 per cent in less than 10 years? This question is at the heart of a global forum in Canada aiming to save marine ecosystems under threat from overfishing, pollution and climate change.

On the heels of the historic biodiversity agreement signed at COP15 in Montreal late last year, about 3,000 officials, scientists, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and Indigenous groups are meeting in Vancouver for the fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5), which opened on Friday (Feb 4) and runs until February 9.

Scientists have said the meeting is crucial for setting up a framework to reach the agreed target at COP15 of protecting 30 per cent of the planet’s lands and oceans by 2030.

It is an immense st...

Read More

How scuba is pushing new limits

In between the sunlit shallows and the dark, deep ocean lies an inky realm where few people have ever been. Stretching from about 30 to 150 metres, the mesophotic zone (meaning “middle light”) is an awkward depth. It lies just beyond the reach of regular scuba divers and it’s usually what aquanauts inside multimillion-dollar submersibles merely glimpse as they plunge deeper.

However, a new generation of scientists is pushing the limits of diving to discover the secrets of this ecological zone. “There’s so much to see, and everything seems new,” says Erika Gress from James Cook University in Queensland, Australia. “It’s like a different world.”

To access the mesophotic zone, divers use equipment called rebreathers, which don’t exhale bubbles...

Read More

Japanese firm selling whale meat from vending machines

A Japanese whaling company has sparked an angry response from animal rights campaigners after it started selling whale meat from vending machines in an effort to boost consumption. Kyodo Senpaku, whose vessels led Japan’s whaling fleet during its controversial expeditions to the Southern Ocean, opened its first kujira(whale meat) “stores” at two locations in Tokyo this month after a successful trial late last year.

The machines sell a variety of whale meat products, including canned items containing meat imported from Iceland, bacon, steaks and red meat that can be eaten raw as sashimi. Prices range from 1,000 (£6) to 3,000 yen.

Although whale meat was a staple source of protein in Japan during postwar food shortages, consumption declined after the 196os as pork, chicken and...

Read More

Most Coral Reef Sharks And Rays May Be At Risk Of Extinction

Bull sharks are one of the eight shark species that live in the marine protected area off the coast of Fiji’s largest island Viti Levu

Nearly two-thirds of coral reef shark and ray species worldwide are threatened with extinction, reports a new study in Nature Communications. This build on a study in 2020 that found that reef sharks across the globe are in decline, missing from 19% of the world’s coral reefs. At the time, this was the greatest decline of reef sharks ever recorded, but these recent results suggest that the extinction risk of coral reef sharks and rays, as a percentage of threatened species, is almost double that of all 1,199 known shark and ray species.

“The findings highlight the need for immediate conservation action for these species through local protections, fisheries management and enforcement, and Marine Protected Areas,” stress the authors of the new study.

Coral reef ecosystems ar...

Read More

Australia aims to be Noah’s ark for corals 

An amazing project is unfolding in the remote Queensland town of Port Douglas which showcases the best science has to offer our society. They’re building a new ark for coral. And there isn’t a moment to lose. Great Barrier Reef Legacy, headquartered in Port Douglas, is working with Traditional Owners, industry and corporate partners, scientific collaborators, government organizations, and tourism operators to establish the world’s first Living Coral Biobank.

Like the mythical Noah’s ark, this project aims to conserve the genetic diversity of hard coral species and catalogue, collect, and store living fragments, tissue, and genetic samples from 400 coral species on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), and 400 coral species from all over the world.

Found worldwide, coral reefs are kn...

Read More

Climate Change Increases Fish Food Fights

According to a new study, climate change is changing the behaviors of the marine fishes living in coral reefs. This study found that as climate causes bleaching, this affects coral reef butterflyfishes (genus Chaetodon), which eat coral. Hangry butterflyfishes make poorer fight-or-flight decisions that lead to unnecessary fights, so they expend precious limited energy, and this could potentially threaten their very survival due to an increased risk of starvation.

This study was something of an accident. An international team of researchers, led by marine macroecologist Sally Keith, a senior lecturer at Lancaster University, were working on an ongoing study of 38 species of butterflyfishes living on 17 Indo-Pacific reefs off Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia and Christmas Island.


Read More